Tom Burger has spent his life dedicated to public service. Burger said it started with President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961, when Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
“That stimulated me to look into public service,” Burger said.
As a young man, Burger served as a Marine in the Vietnam War during the Tet Offensive of 1968. After he left the Marines, Burger was still looking to serve. He turned to the federal government.
Burger looked into working at the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Internal Revenue Service, but he ended up at the IRS, where he worked for 37 years. Burger rose to the rank of director of the employment tax. Working for the IRS, Burger helped ensure that the majority of the money that funds the federal government was collected. He was responsible for determining whether citizens received W-2 or 1099 tax forms.
“Basically are you an employee or independent contractor?” Burger said, ”It’s the IRS’s job is to ensure that everybody pays their fair share – no more, no less.”
Listen to Burger’s views on public service.
In 2007, about 2,000 Government Accountability Office employees decided to unionize with The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. It was the first time in the GAO’s 91-year history that its employees were represented by a labor organization. That’s when Eric Adams decided to jump ship from his previous agency and apply for the Director of Workforce Relations at GAO.
“It was an opportunity for me to start a labor program here from the ground up,” Adams said.
Adams says his main role is being a liaison between the agency’s management and the roughly 2,500 non-management employees.
“I think all organizations want their employees to be involved and care about what they think,” Adams said, “and I think employees in any workplace take interest in decisions which effect them.”
While he represents the agency’s management interests, Adams reaches out to employees to see which programs aren’t working and which programs are successful.
“A program that is effective that allows for the agency to get its mission done is Telework,” Adams said.
The benefit of his job, Adams says, is an accountable, high performing, motivated workforce carrying out the mission of the agency.
Listen to Adams’ views on public service.
As an Army brat, Octavia Hall has always been around public service. She spent most of her life in Germany bouncing around several bases. Hall said it was both her family and her community who encouraged her to serve.
“When I went out to the bus stop, I remember the soldiers coming over to talk to us about going to school, getting a good education, asking about our career goals. They contributed a lot to my wanting to serve,” Hall said.
As military families do, Hall’s family moved again, this time to Maryland. In high school she was active in cheerleading and a singing-show group she compared to the hit show Glee.
When graduation approached, Hall wasn’t interested in military service, but she knew there was a place for her on the civilian side. After receiving her diploma from La Plata High School, she was hired as a resource adviser at Joint Base Andrews. Hall helped families with child-care needs, career development courses and dual military spouses dealing with deployments.
“It’s always been instilled in me to help others in need,” Hall said.
Listen to Hall share her views on public service:
Spring Break fever was in the air today on Capitol Hill. Legislators have officially fled Washington D.C. and there will be no hearings until April 16th.
But before the final votes ensued, the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight held a hearing where Senators McCaskill, Portman and Tester grilled witnesses from the Army, The Office of Personnel and Management and The Department of Homeland Security over contractor spending.
Meanwhile, Chairwoman McCaskill’s grandsons were in attendance. My guess is they are on their own Spring Break. They sat graciously through the hearing; only occasionally trying sneak into my shot. I’m sure they were absolutely enthralled with the subject of Contractors: How Much Are They Costing the Government.
When Grandma adjourned the hearing she let the boys smack the gavel to officially call the hearing to a close – then they really spotted me. And as kids do, they hammed it up for the camera. So, cute.
In opening my emails every morning I’m accustomed to a plethora of press releases. Today the release that caught my eye was the announcement of President Obama signing an executive order to cut federal agency travel, printing and IT costs.
However it wasn’t the “news” in the release that has me blogging. It’s the use of the word swag. Sports reporters have been using the word for months now. There is no doubt that you will hear swag used if you tune into ESPN’s SportsCenter. But I didn’t expect the White House to jump on the bandwagon.
Is it just me or does the word swag bother anyone else? And the fact that the White House used it in an official press release.
An Atlanta TV station recently reported a passenger going through Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport was subject to a TSA “hair pat-down”.
The woman had already gone through security when TSA agents tracked her down and asked to search her hair for explosives. She said no, but was then told she wouldn’t be able to board her flight without a “hair pat-down”. The woman has a massive fro and is quite a character, but a terrorist, I think not. Watch the full report below.
The former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld got hung up in Chicago O’Hare International Airport yesterday afternoon.
Rumsfled was stopped by TSA agents and patted down after setting off the metal detector. The 13th and 21st Secretary of Defense was reported as being a good sport by TMZ, they even have pictures to prove it! The former SECDEF even tweeted about his pat down:
Rumsfeld was in hometown of Chicago attending a Heritage Foundation Panel & Luncheon.
The best amatuer stand up comics within the federal sector will be cracking jokes for the glory and splendor of being crowned DC’s Funniest Fed.
Unfortunately the show is sold out, but good luck to the finalists!
Don Heitman (CFTC)
Tim Miller (US Army)
Abe Barth (HHS)
Kate Taylor (US Senate)
Jonathan Shepard (USAID)
Nate Johnson (SSA)
The show isn’t just for “you know what” and giggles, 20 percent of ticket proceeds will be donated to Fisher House Foundation to help families of wounded soldiers visit their loved ones while they are recuperating.
In response to the press conference, Sen. McConnell’s office released this statement: The only people talking about shutting down the government are a handful of Senate Democrats at a press conference today. (Thursday, February 3, 2011)
Don Stewart, Communications Director for the Senate Republican Leader: As Republicans focus on constructive ways for the two parties to work together on cutting spending and debt, Senator Schumer seems strangely preoccupied with the notion of a government shutdown. It is our hope that he soon realizes the only person talking about a shutdown is Senator Schumer. Most Americans and even many in his own party have come to realize that the gravity of our current fiscal problems calls for constructive dialogue that will lead to serious cuts in spending and debt. That’s what Republicans are focused on. We hope Senator Schumer joins that bipartisan effort soon.